By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 5 August 2021
Four leading Tibetan organisations urged the two bickering groups of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to patch up their differences and convene the Parliament for the greater cause of Tibet.
The exile parliament was to convene and elect the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker in early June, but the rejection of the 22 members who took oath outside the provisions of the exile Tibetan Charter stalled the whole procedure.
The Protem Speaker administered oath to 21 members, while 22 members took oath before a portrait of the Dalai Lama and the Charter, defying the Charter’s statute of having to take oath before the Protem Speaker, as enshrined in Article 47.
One bone of contention was that a majority vote by the Parliament dismissed the Chief Justice and two others in March, and another issue was that half the members refused to accept the three justices’ resumption of office after a two-month hiatus. Because of this they complained of the authenticity of the oath of the Protem Speaker.
The four NGOs are urging acceptance of the oath of the 22 members who took oath before the portrait of the Dalai Lama and the Charter, and that once the Parliament functions normally, it would not raise the issue with which the three justices were expelled through a motion titled Document No 39.
There are 45 members elected by the exile Tibetans, who meet every six months for business of the House. The regular scheduled meeting would be in September, but now it’s not clear if there will be any meeting at all.
Four NGOs — Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, and Students for a Free Tibet – India — proposed a three-point objective to resolve the ongoing deadlock.
Gonpo Dhondup, the President of TYC, appealed to all the MPs to accept both the methods of oath-taking by the new members of the 17th Parliament, so that the Parliament could hold session in September.
He then urged all the MPs to take a pledge that the issue of the new Sikyong taking oath before the Chief Justice will not be raised, as well as the Document No 39 that ousted the three justices of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission shall not be discussed once the Parliament begins to function.
Further, Dhondup requested the members to appoint a committee to draft a suggestion to amend any ambiguities in the Charter.
He concluded by urging the general public to be responsible citizens by forging unity despite ideological differences, or choice in electing the new Sikyong, and to put their efforts and energy towards the common cause of the Tibetan people to fight against the tyranny of the Communist Party of China.
Other leaders who joined in the press conference were Tibetan Women’s Association President Tenzin Dolma, National Democratic Party of Tibet President Tsetan Norbu, and Student’s for a Free Tibet – India President Rinzin Choedon.